Monday, October 11, 2010

unexpected blessing?

Today has been an up-and-down kind of day.  I have decided to donate my faithful little car to Purple Heart this week.  Even if it would be an easy fix, I haven't moved the car an inch in over three weeks and I just don't trust it anymore.  The past three weeks have proven that I am not as dependent on my car as I thought I was, and although I regret not being able to just hop in my car during a break at work to go to Starbucks, I didn't do that nearly as often as I thought about doing it.  I cleaned out the last personal effects this evening and I was astonished at how irrationally melancholy it made me.  After all, it's just a car.

not as pretty as the Audi, I know
It's not even a very attractive car, but it has been my car for half the time I've been driving and longer than the three cars I had before it.  It's a little bizarre to feel nostalgic or emotionally attached to a car, but it served me well for many years, giving me no trouble until May, which is why I tried so hard to save it.

I have wanted to be done with a car for years and I do feel liberated, not having to navigate traffic disasters and construction zones, not having to circle my neighborhood like a mechanical vulture waiting for someone to vacate a parking space so I can actually go home after work.  I think the way I'm feeling about my poor car's departure could best be described as a feeling of homesickness.  Maybe you can relate, or maybe you're more convinced than ever that I'm not in full possession of my mind.

Anyway, after I said goodbye to my little car, I made Thai **** Green Garden from Vegan Express for dinner.  Like I said I would, I sauteed the vegetables in peanut and sesame oil and instead of laying the vegetables over a bed of jasmine rice, I soaked some rice stick noodles.  I mixed together the peanut sauce from Vegan on the Cheap and served in my very fashionable measuring cup.  I tried to find a gravy boat but I've misplaced them (yes, the vegan has two) somehow.

Mister couldn't eat it.  If what you see above was what you got, it would have been fine, which he prove by getting a new bowl and just putting the vegetables and tofu into it.  There was something about the rice noodles that weirded him out (I loved them) and despite his approval of the peanut noodle salad I made with the same peanut sauce, he could not stand the peanut sauce tonight.  He insisted it was different and explained that last time, the sauce was "chalky" whereas this time it was "slimy."  I'm not sure I appreciate either of those words being applied to something I've made, but at least it wasn't my own recipe, so nothing personal.

Therein lies the disguised blessing - not only was it not personal because I didn't write the recipe for the food he wouldn't eat, but I didn't slave over it for an hour or more.  If Mister doesn't like something from Vegan Express or my other "Blink and Dinner's Ready" cookbooks, it's not that big a deal because I didn't put that much effort into it.  He felt bad that he didn't like dinner (but not that he described something I made as "chalky" or "slimy") so to try to make him stop pouting, I cheerfully pointed out that dinner can only get better as the week progresses!

Sometimes I wonder if my optimism annoys him.  Oh well, just like the noodles and sauce, more for me! 

Speaking of awesome things, I've saved the best for last because I really prefer to end my posts on a positive note.  Today, since it was Sunday and I had plenty of time to devote to breakfast, I made my first oatmeal of the season!  I wanted to make it super-special and had just enough sleep the night before to have capacity for thought this morning (granted, it was nearly noon by the time I had breakfast).  Lucky you, that means there's a recipe attached!

I have been drinking my morning coffee/tea from that Lake Tahoe mug every day for almost three years

Autumn Pear Oatmeal
serves 1 (but very easily multiplied for a family)

1 small red pear, diced (I don't peel, but you're welcome to - you'll get plenty of fiber from the oats)
1/2 tsp cinnamon sugar
1 tsp molasses
1/2 cup dry oatmeal
1 cup nondairy milk (I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk)

Heat pears in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until the pieces begin to let go of their juices.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and stir to coat.  Saute for another minute or two, until pears are juicy and tender, then scatter oats over top of them and stir to combine.  Pour in milk and stir to combine.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Stir in molasses and simmer 2-3 minutes, until all liquid has been absorbed by the oatmeal.

Enjoy!  It should be plenty sweet from the molasses, cinnamon sugar, and natural sugars in the pears caramelizing a little, but if you need it sweeter, I'm sure a drizzle of pure maple syrup would be a delightful addition.

Finally, I had a little photo-shoot with my favorite [uncooperative] model today.  Here are a couple of favorites - most of the pictures are blurry because he doesn't like when Mommy points that little silver box at him.

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